Back in 2003, Takayuki Hoshino and Shinji Matsui of the Himeji Institute of Technology in Japan created a one-of-a-kind scale model of the Star Trek Starship Enterprise NCC-1701D.

What made the model so unique? It was made of phenanthrene gas and it was exactly 8.8 microns long.

For a sense of scale, one micron is 1,000th of a millimeter. For an even better sense of scale, consider that a human red blood cell is also approximately 8 microns. In other words, that is one damn tiny spaceship. Check it out below.

As a former employee of the Lego Store, I know a thing or two about building nerdy scale models. I must say, however, that my Batmobile and X-Wing Fighter pale in comparison to this magnificent creation. I mean, I’m still having a hard time wrapping my head around something that tiny.

Of course, I’m sure some of you out there are asking yourself, “Why would someone make a model so small in the first place?” Luckily, there’s a simple explanation: competition. Takayuki Hoshino and Shinji Matsui created the micro-Enterprise as an entry in the “The 47th International Conference on Electron, Ion and Photon Beam Technology and Nanofabrication Bizarre/Beautiful Micrograph Contest.” Their creation won the award for “Best Ion Micrograph.”

While it’s fair to argue the merits of creating a super tiny model of the USS Enterprise (I’m sure the amount of research dollars that went into this “experiment” was staggering), I think that as an example of our advancements in the field of nanotechnology, this is actually pretty interesting.

What do you think? Is this cool or just a waste of scientific resources?

Source: Zyvex Labs via The Zeray Gazette